‘I Love Lucy’: Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Almost Didn’t Get Married

I Love Lucy stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz almost didn’t get married. Ball explained why they initially decided to forget about marriage.  

Desi Arnaz was popular with the ladies, according to Lucille Ball

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in the film 'Forever Darling' |  FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives via Getty Images
Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in the film ‘Forever Darling’ | FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives via Getty Images

Arnaz was reportedly a ladies’ man. In her book, Love Lucy, Ball said Arnaz was so charismatic and attractive that the female extras on his movie set would call him “Latin Dynamite.” She was also smitten when she first met Arnaz. Ball says she fell in love within the first five minutes of their first date.

She found him attractive, but she said she also enjoyed talking to him. Their first date was at a night club, but Ball said they spent most of the night talking instead of dancing.

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz almost didn’t get married

Since Arnaz was so popular with female movie-goers, the executives at RKO had him sign a contract saying he couldn’t get married for five years, according to Ball. They wanted him to stay single so he could keep up the appearance of a young, available man.

Ball said one day she and Arnaz were talking about the future. They realized they were too different, and their schedules were too chaotic. Consequently, they decided they could never get married. Ball said a photographer snapped a photo of them looking forlorn after concluding they weren’t meant to marry.

Lucille Ball’s bosses told her not to marry Desi Arnaz

Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball | FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives via Getty Images
Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball | FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives via Getty Images

After pictures of Arnaz and Ball surfaced in the newspapers, the RKO executives tried to convince Ball to end the relationship. According to Ball, they told her he was too much of a player and he would end up breaking her heart. Ball told them she wouldn’t marry him, and they didn’t have to worry. However, Ball continued to fall deeper in love with Arnaz. She said he would send her romantic telegrams, telling her how much he loved her and couldn’t wait to see her again.

Ball said her friends also discouraged her from moving forward with the relationship. They reminded her that Arnaz lived for today and didn’t think about the consequences that awaited tomorrow. Ball described herself as a levelheaded person who planned ahead, which was the opposite of Arnaz. However, one thing she and Arnaz did have in common was that they were both romantics.

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s wedding day

Despite the doubts of friends and colleagues, Ball and Arnaz decided to get married. They realized they wanted to have a family one day and build a home. Arnaz surprised Ball by telling her he had planned for them to elope. He told her he would pick her up at her hotel so they could go away together and get married.

The next morning, Arnaz and Ball tied the knot. She said all she had to wear was a black outfit, but Arnaz was too happy to even notice what she was wearing. During all the excitement, Arnaz forgot Ball’s wedding ring, so his business manager ran into a department store and purchased a brass ring for her. Arnaz later bought her a platinum ring, but Ball said she kept that brass ring among her diamonds and emerald jewelry even years later.  

Follow Sheiresa Ngo on Twitter.